Quince and apple pudding, gluten free

A recent conversation with Kid 1, went like this.

Me: How does it feel to be turning twelve?
Kid 1: Oh, I’m really not that fussed about birthdays. Another year older, another year closer to death.
Me: Wow, that’s a bit of a downer!
Kid 1: Imagine how much worse it would be if I died before I even turned twelve? They could put on my tombstone ‘Kid 1. Never reached puberty.’ Or ‘Never been kissed.’
Kid 2 then chimed in. ‘Or never got a girls phone number. (The back story being that a girl gave him her number when he was a mere six years old. Nothing quite compares to beating your older brother in the romance stakes.)

The good news is that he made it to twelve. His sense of humour and unique view of the world is a constant joy to us. (And keeps us on our toes.) He was a big fan of these aromatic and autumnal wee puddings. The smell of the cooking quince was the musky, heady smell of an orchard full of every ripe fruit you could possibly ever imagine. This golden knobbly produce starts out as rock hard and with slow, gentle cooking, morphs into soft, sweet delectable flavoured fruit with pale pink to deep ruby colour flesh. (The longer and slower it is cooked, the deeper red it becomes.)

Adding a modicum of tart green apple adds a welcome sharpness and when topped off with a subtly spiced gluten free sponge, this is a fabulous wee pudding indeed.

Happy Birthday Kid 1, I promise to make these again for you soon.


2 large quinces
1 lemon
1 large Apple, peeled and chopped into 2-3 cm pieces
1 large knob of butter
1 cup water
2 tbl soft brown sugar
Pudding topping
60g butter, room temperature
50g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g plain gluten free flour
50g ground almonds
2 tsps gf baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup milk

Squeeze the lemon and place in a bowl full of water. Peel and chop the quince into 2-3 cm cubes and place immediately into water, this stops the quince discolouring.
Place the quince, butter, brown sugar and 1/4 of a cup of the water into a medium saucepan. Cook the quince on a low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, once it starts to soften, add the apple and cook for another 20 minutes until the apple just starts to soften. Check regularly to ensure the water doesn’t dry out, replenish if it does.
Whilst the fruit is cooking. Preheat the oven to 180C and butter six small ramekins or tins or one large 1 litre pie dish.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (Add vanilla essence if using here.)
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift the gluten free flour, almond meal, baking powder, mixed spice and vanilla bean powder.
Fold the flour mixture and milk alternately into the egg mixture to make a soft batter.
Divide the cooked fruit between the tins then cover with the topping.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until well risen, firm and golden brown. (A one litre pie dish may take more like 30 minutes.)
Serve hot with cream, ice-cream or yoghurt. Kid 1 also loves them cold for a breakfast treat as well.

A Cheergerm recipe, the sponge batter adapted from a Stephanie Alexander recipe.

Chia pudding pots and granola, gluten free

There was a stirring in my workday breakfast soul, a yearning for something a little different than my usual banana, spelt sourdough toast with smashed avocado and a cup of tea. Something free of gluten that that The Yak could also scoff, before the trek to work was made. Something that could be made the night before, which for this ‘Non-Morning Person,’ is perfect.

When I first started experimenting with this pudding, doubt ruled supreme as to whether it would be delicious. Currently, these kind of chia concoctions are hipper than hip, too cool for school and this Cheergerm has never enjoyed the textural journey that is sago or tapioca. However, we have become chia pudding converts. Sigh, what followers. After some experimenting with liquid and chia quantities , I found a balance that works for my taste. The gluten free granola is a marvellous combination of crispy, sweet and nutty goodness. It is rather fabulous when strewn on all manners of breakfast foods. Combined with the pudding, it is simultaneously creamy, squishy and crunchy. The blueberries add a lovely fresh tartness that cuts through any richness.

Little black pearls of chia seeds
I appreciate popping you into a biscuit batter
Or this nice little breakfast pudding
Even though
You get stuck between my teeth
I kind of like you
But I kind of don’t
I have read that you are a powerhouse of
Fibre, protein, antioxidants and all that good stuff
You are also free of gluten
Which is greatly appreciated in these here parts
But you are also a little bit weird
And whilst I don’t want to be cruel
I am not quite sure I would say
We are the best of friends quite yet


1 1/2 cup yoghurt (I used a thick greek style vanilla bean yoghurt.)
1/2 cup light coconut cream (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/8 tsp Vanilla bean powder or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean essence
2 tbl maple syrup
125g blueberries (reserve 12 for garnishing) (I have used raspberries as well which are also delicious)

You will need 4 cups or jars to put this mixture into. Whaever takes your fancy. These wee jars were from Wheel and Barrow (no sponsoring or anything tricksy going on here) and I am a little bit in love with them.
Divide the blueberries amongst the jars or cups, leave about 12 for garnishing the top.
Whisk the chia seeds, yoghurt, milk, maple syrup and vanilla in a large bowl.
Divide equally amongst the four containers, pouring the mixture over the berries.
Use the remaining berries to garnish the puddings.
Cover and place in fridge overnight.
If the pudding is too thick for your liking, add a dash of milk or coconut milk to loosen it.
Serve topped with a hearty sprinkling of the granola (recipe follows) and tuck in.

A Cheergerm creation


1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbl chia seeds
1 tbl flaxseeds
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean essence
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbls maple syrup
2 tbl grapeseed oil
1/2 cup coconut (I only had desiccated, shredded or flaked would be good too)
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (I used whole unsweetened)
1/4 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 160C.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Spread the walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia, flaxseeds, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt onto the tray and mix well.
Pour the maple syrup and oil over the granola mixture and mix very well.
Place in the oven for ten minutes, remove tray and add the coconut, cranberries, sultannas and stir. This ensures the fruit doesn’t harden too much and the coconut doesn’t burn. Put the tray back in the oven.
After another ten minutes, remove the tray again and stir.
At this point, you will have to decide if it needs another five minutes or not. It will depend, sometimes I give it a few minutes more. You will have to watch it carefully as you want crunchy golden brown granola, not burnt.
Once cooled, place a hearty spoonful on top of your chia puddings. It is also great on yoghurt and other breakfast cereals. Store in an airtight container.

Cooking Notes: Sometimes I add a half cup each of puffed amaranth and puffed millet along with the nuts and seeds at the start. Also delicious. I have also used dried unsweetened cherries instead of cranberries which are fantastic.

A Cheergerm creation

Eggy bread and cooking with Kid 1

The only tenuous connection between this post and Easter is the use of the word ‘egg.’ Of course, one cannot live on chocolate alone (although Kid 1 would give it a good try.) At some point during the Easter celebrations, it is good to put something else apart from chocolate into your gob.

Kid 1 had been requesting a cooking lesson on what we call in our family ‘eggy bread.’ The naming of this bready treat harks from the Yaks’s British heritage. It is more commonly known as French Toast or in Frenchy speak ‘Pain Perdue.’ Whatever you call it, the process of soaking an enriched egg and butter bread in a creamy sweet egg wash and frying it up, makes a wonderful breakfast or in this case ‘breakfast for dinner’.

Enriched bread such as brioche or challah, will give you the best result. An even better result is achieved if the bread is one day old. You are looking for a crispy golden exterior and creamy soft interior. Kid 1 and I had a lovely time in the kitchen and both munchkins greatly enjoyed the puffy golden sweet, finished product. Next time, Kid 1 wants to make the brioche himself, grow chickens to make the eggs and farm our own cows for the milk and cream. Maybe we can just start with the brioche?


3 thick (3cm or so) slices of brioche (or a similar bread such as challah, it is better if the bread is a day old.)
3 eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tbl caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
2 tbl butter
2 tbl oil
Maple syrup to serve

Beat the eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large jug or medium size bowl.
Pour the egg mixture into a dish that will fit the brioche slices in side by side.
Place the bread in the dish and soak in the egg mixture for 5 minutes.
Turn the bread over onto the other side and soak for another for 5 minutes. Preheat the large non-stick frypan to a medium heat whilst the bread is soaking.
Add the butter and oil to the frypan and once the butter has melted, cook the bread for about 6 minutes each side until puffy and golden brown.
It can be kept in a warm oven for ten minutes or so until ready to eat.
Before serving you can dust the eggy bread in icing sugar but as this was for my kids and they go nuts with maple syrup, I didn’t.
Drizzle generously with maple syrup.
Serves 2 people.

Cooking Notes: To serve 4, simply double the recipe. If you would like to make a savoury version, leave out the sugar and vanilla. It is delicious served with crispy bacon and a sauce of some kind. (A relish, tomato sauce or hot sauce, whatever takes your fancy.)

A Cheergerm creation